Changes to domestic violence provisions in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 have now come into effect.
The changes, passed by NSW Parliament in November last year, improve the protections for tenants experiencing domestic violence (DV). The Tenants’ Union has prepared resources to help renters understand their rights under the new provisions. There are also resources available from Women’s Legal Service NSW & NSW Fair Trading
Story: Tenants Union of NSW
What are the Changes?
- Tenants in circumstances of domestic violence can now end their tenancies by serving a DV termination notice, with relevant evidence, and vacating.
- A victim-survivor of domestic violence will be protected from breach fees and costs for property damage in some circumstances.
A landlord or agent will not be allowed to list information about a tenant in a tenancy database when the tenant has terminated the agreement in circumstances of domestic violence.
How do the new provisions work?
If a tenant can answer ‘yes’ to all of the following four questions, they should be able to end their tenancy for domestic violence:
Q1. Has there been domestic violence in your household?
The victim-survivor of the violence may be a tenant or co-tenant or a dependent child of a tenant or co-tenant.
Q2. Are you either a tenant or co-tenant?
Tenant includes sub-tenant.
Q3. Do you want to leave?
Q4. Do you have relevant evidence?
What evidence is acceptable?
- Copy of a certificate of conviction of a DV offence OR
- Copy of a DV Order (need not be final) OR
- Copy of a Family Law Act 1975 injunction per section 68B or 114 of that Act OR
How to end the tenancy:
If the answers to all four questions above are ‘yes’ the tenant can:
- Draft a DV termination notice
- Attach the relevant evidence – see above
- Serve the notice – on the landlord/agent and all other tenants
- Vacate the premises – keys can be given to the landlord/agentThen the process for terminating the tenancy is complete. It is important to keep copies of everything in case the landlord later challenges the validity of the termination.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is not just physical or sexual abuse. Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour that is dominating or controlling and causes a person to feel fear for their own or other’s safety. It can involve:
– Women’s Legal Service NSW